Inuvialuit Day celebrations move from virtual to distanced for 2021 edition

·2 min read
Inuvialuit Regional Corporation Chair Duane Smith. The corporation and communities across the Inuvialuit Settlement Region are hosting events this weekend to mark 37 years since the signing of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC - image credit)
Inuvialuit Regional Corporation Chair Duane Smith. The corporation and communities across the Inuvialuit Settlement Region are hosting events this weekend to mark 37 years since the signing of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC - image credit)

Communities across the Inuvialuit Settlement Region are holding celebrations this weekend to celebrate the 37th anniversary of the signing of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement.

After having to celebrate physically-distanced last year, communities are able to hold some in-person events this year.

In Inuvik, in order to accommodate as many people as possible, the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation is putting on three barbecues at various spots around town.

A barbecue at East Three Secondary will be held as a drive-thru where residents can pick up their meal, and people can head over to the IRC building also.

The elders' lunch was also moved, from the Happy Valley Campground to Ingamo Hall.

"Due to the weather we are having to shuffle some of these things around," said Duane Smith, chair of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation.

Just like last year, a drum dancing performance will be livestreamed on Facebook so everyone can enjoy it, since prohibitions on large gatherings are still in effect.

Smith said the past year has been difficult for Inuvialuit, because "like other Indigenous groups, we like to gather to have functions that we share with family, friends, community ... so it's been hard on people keeping their distance."

Most communities are holding their celebrations on Saturday. However, Tuktoyaktuk's is happening Sunday, Ulukhaktok's was suppose to take place Friday but was postponed by bad weather, and the celebration in Aklavik is postponed due to flooding.

Smith said it's great to be able to celebrate such a significant milestone.

"It's for all Canadians, because the government of Canada signed this agreement with us on behalf of all Canadians," he said. "So we are happy to celebrate that with all Canadians … and hopefully get a better understanding of the culture of this great country, as well as to learn a little bit more about our culture at the same time."

"Happy Inuvialuit Day to everybody out there," he said, "Hopefully [everybody can] get the opportunity to take part in some way in the recognition and celebration of Inuvialuit Day."

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